To mark yesterday's unveiling of the electric 2013 Chevrolet Spark, GM released a new graphic showing the dashboard and an outline of the car. The computer-generated image of the Spark's dash displays the electric city car achieving a shocking 18 miles per kilowatt-hour. That's mighty impressive considering that most plug-ins return around four miles per kWh.

While we didn't immediately notice this 18 mi/kWh readout, electric vehicle enthusiast Neil Riley did. Riley quickly posted this comment over on Green Car Reports:
If the battery is really a 20-kilowatt-hour capacity pack and the car gets 18 miles per kWh as depicted in the dashboard picture, the range computes to 360 miles per charge. Now that would be really great. Am I wrong in my findings?
GCR immediately shot an email to General Motors, asking whether or not the electric Spark was truly capable of returning such remarkable numbers. GM spokesman Rob Peterson replied:

While everyone else was asleep, we have managed to disprove the First Law of Thermodynamics, allowing us to move from approximately four [miles per] kWh to 18. The perpetual motion machine is squarely in our sites, and in our product portfolio.

It's nice to see this sense of humor, but the truth isn't as fun. Peterson continued:
The actual answer is, no. Our graphic is incorrect.
Maybe someday 18 miles per kWh for a passenger car will be nothing noteworthy, but today it remains pure fantasy.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Based on GMs fuzzy math where they don't count the electrical energy used to charge the vehicle? That is like taking a vehicle that runs on E85 and reporting that it gets 150mpg!!!* * Per gallon of pure gasoline. Actually it takes 6.7 gallons of E85 to go 150 miles and it goes 22.5miles on a gallon of E85.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its too bad that GM keeps trying to spruce up through the steering wheel displays rather than using a truly modern heads up display for speed and primary vehicle information.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        You mean like they've had since late '80's? The HUD in my friend's Pontiac Bonneville was so cool back in the day... you can still get it on Buicks, Caddy's and the Corvette.
          Ryan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Yes, that is the display. It can't cost that much, but it is deemed a 'luxury' item and you are gouged for it now.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Remember this is the same GM that said the chevy volt would get 230mpg.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        That was misleading, but I'm sure some people do get that level . . .or higher. But right now, people seem to be burning about 1 gallon per 100 miles with Volt. Not bad.
        otiswild
        • 3 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        I got it up to about 271mpg before a couple of long road trips busted me down to 167 :p
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      it can certainly be done but not with a Spark
      shinichi
      • 3 Years Ago
      On the display you can also see, that the car is in regen mode. If you run it down a very long hill, you would eventually end up with that efficiency.
      JamesJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anyone know what was the mi/KWH on the EV1? I doubt it was 18, but it could be fairly high compare to the other EVs out there.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JamesJ
        The EV1 is better than any of the current crop of EV's. The Leaf is rated at 340Wh/mile (though folks have driven it at under 200Wh/mile) while the EV1 is ~160-170Wh/mile at highway speeds. I think that aerodynamic drag is the key factor for this -- all the low consumption EV's have low(er) drag: Illuminati 7, GM EV1, SIM-LEI, Edison2 VLCe, and Dave Cloud's Dolphin (which has DC drive and lead acid batteries). Neil
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JamesJ
        From a internet search, it looks like the EV1 (with old heavy batteries, new ones would be same weight, more capacity most likely) used 115 Watts to go a mile at 45 mph and 170 Watts to go a mile at 65 mph. So if you used 1,000 Watts, you would get 8.7 miles at 45mph or 5.9 miles at 65mph for each 1KW that you have in a battery pack.
        JamesJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JamesJ
        Thanks for the info.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Stupid thermodynamics....
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice catch. Well, I hope that graphic is somewhat based on reality. They better not be starting from nothing right now and expect to get the car out by the end of 2012.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to see someone duplicate this display with a real Spark EV. Roll it down a steep hill and trick it into thinking it can get 18 miles per kwh.
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      "squarely in our sites" I think it's: "squarely in our sights"
      Bryan Lund
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ahh the wonders of photochop-shop, eh?
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thank you for reporting this, Eric.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Yes! Thank you Eric! Could you perhaps put all of your anti GM articles each month into a solid Enquirer-style tabloid? It would be just as sleazy!
    • Load More Comments